Friday, December 2, 2016

2016 National Bible Bee // A Post for Contestants

The past three posts have been lessons that I have learned through competing in the National Bible Bee, but those lessons apply to all of life. In this post I want to share some lessons with those of you who are still contestants, as you continue participating in the National Bible Bee.

This was my last year to compete and one of my goals was to study without regrets. I wanted to study in such a way that when I thought back over my last year, I wouldn't regret how I studied. I didn't want to look back and regret that I didn't study more, or didn't study this aspect, etc, etc... When you study, keep that in mind. When you feel unmotivated or you want to do something else, but you know you should be reviewing verses, keep pressing on so that when you look back you won't have regrets about wasted time, etc...

When I found out that I had qualified for Nationals, I laid out my schedule for each day - what to study, when to study, when to memorize/review, etc... Throughout the few months though, things came up and I wasn't able to follow my schedule exactly. I could easily get frustrated and think "why can't I just stick with my schedule?!", but I learned something through that - Prepare for the unexpected. Things will come up and you won't be able to study for an hour here, or a day there. So don't waste the little moments of time, instead use them in preparation for those times when you can't study.

It's easy to get worn down by how much time you have to spend preparing for Nationals and how much material you have to know, but keep pressing on! Remember that you are doing it to glorify God and His Son. Jesus is the true prize of the National Bible Bee. Don't lose motivation. Don't give up. Keep running hard. Keep pressing on. Keep glorifying Christ in all that you do.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2016 National Bible Bee // Lesson #3

This will be the final lesson that I share from my journey in Bible Bee. While I've only shared three lessons, there were so many more that I learned.

So often I get caught up in the future - what will I be doing, where will I live, etc... In my thinking of the future, I miss the present. Life flies by so quickly, and if I spend time wishing for/dreaming about the future, I will lose the present. I'll "wake up" five years from now and regret the time that I threw away.

Every day there are so many little things that we can enjoy and give thanks for. Yet, I so easily lose sight of the present in dreaming about the future. While in Bible Bee, it was so easy to dream about Nationals that I lost study time and time with my family. Then Nationals would come, it'd be over, and I'd look back and think "why did I spend so much time dreaming about Nationals that I let myself lose study time?"

The present days are so precious. Be content with where you are. Don't always be dreaming about the future. No, it isn't wrong to have dreams about the future, but don't let yourself get so caught up in it that you lose the present. You won't always be so near your family like you are today, savor the days you have with them. You may not always be able to do all you can now, savor those things. Enjoy the present and be content with where you are today.

Monday, November 28, 2016

2016 National Bible Bee // Lesson #2

This lesson that I am going to share was another big one from this year. I struggle with it a lot, not just during Bible Bee, but during the off-season as well.

During Bible Bee studying, it's easy to get so caught up in studying and preparing for the test, locally or nationally, that you can forget there are more important things. Yes, studying for the Bible Bee is very important and you want to do your best, but that should not take the place of other important things. The most important is people - your family, your church, your friends.

Throughout my journey as a Bible Bee Contestant, I laid out I was going to study, my schedule, etc... and anytime that I got interrupted I would get frustrated. My little sister would ask me to play with her, and my response would be one of frustration "Can't you see I'm trying to study! Go play by yourself." Or my family would need my help for something and instead of doing it joyfully, I'd do it while thinking the whole time "I really need to be studying right now".

Studying is very important, but if it takes the place of people - investing in them, serving them, building relationships with them, etc... - then it becomes wrong. Throughout life there will be many things that want your attention, but you must keep your priorities straight. When you are busy with things and get called away, don't be frustrated, instead thank God for those distractions. Five years, Ten years, however many years from now, you're going to look back and think, "Why didn't I just play with my little siblings?" "Why didn't I just cheerfully help my family". Keep your priorities straight. Don't let your studying/dreams/tasks consume you so much that you neglect people.

When your life is over it's the people that you have impacted that will be your legacy. If you've spent your whole life focusing on your dreams/tasks/etc... you won't have that legacy. Spend the time investing in people now so that in the future you will still have those relationships and that legacy.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

2016 National Bible Bee // Lesson #1

During my time as a National Bible Bee Contestant, I learned so much - not just through studying the Word, but also through participating. In the following few blog posts, I am going to share a few lessons that I have learned.

The National Bible Bee is a great incentive to memorize and study God's Word. The prize money that is given away each year is a large amount, so it can be very easy to focus on studying in order to do well and hopefully win. During my time as a contestant, I've struggled with doing it for the right reasons. Unless one is careful the prize money can become a snare. The recognition can become a snare. The trip to Nationals can become a snare. Even studying and memorizing to have more knowledge can become a snare. 

A lesson that was key in my studying this year was that I must focus on Christ. He is the true prize. I was studying, yes, to participate in the National Bible Bee, but the main thing was to know Christ better. He is the treasure found in the Bible. He is the whole point of the Gospel. He is our Savior. He is our King. He is the one that we must seek after.

All the prize money that the National Bible Bee offers is earthly and will not last. All the recognition and fame will be vanish. In future years, you won't have any of that left. The only thing that will be left is Christ. He will never perish and pass away. He is forever.

If you are a contestant, alumni, or someone who hasn't participated in Bible Bee, no matter what you do, remember that your focus must be on Christ. Don't do something for the prize/recognition/etc... Do it for Christ!

What is a lesson you've been learning lately? (Bible Bee related or not)
Have you struggled with this? 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

2016 National Bible Bee // Pictures

National Bible Bee 2016 was so amazing, so of course I had to take lots of pictures of the week. Unfortunately, because of our internet, I am unable to upload them all...so, I'm going to post a few on here and then give some links at the bottom of the post.















**WARNING** There are lots of pictures in the following links **WARNING**




Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2016 National Bible Bee!

This past week was the 2016 National Bible Bee. This was my sixth year and final year as a contestant in the National Bible Bee. I have now joined the ranks of the Alumni. This post will hopefully be the first in a series about the Bible Bee. This post will be about my experience at Nationals this year. I'm unsure how many posts will be in this series, but I hope to have several where I post about lessons that I have learned from participating/studying, pictures from nationals, tips for other Bible Bee Contestants, thoughts for Alumni, as well as thoughts for those who have not participated in the National Bible Bee.

On November 14 + 15 we drove the 12 hours down to San Antonio, TX. On the evening of the 15th we had pizza with some friends and a study time with several other contestants. On Wednesday, the 16th, the National Bible Bee Competition officially started with Registration and family photos. It was so wonderful seeing the hotel filling with Bible Bee families. As we walked through the hotel we were able to connect once again with many Bible Bee friends from previous years. 

We registered early on, and at 3:00 several of us contestants had a prayer time. It was a small group of people, but such an encouragement. We cried out to the Lord for an hour about many different things - peace while testing the next day, praising Him no matter the results, that Christ would be glorified in the competition, that we would live out what we had learned, revival, our government, etc... It was a very special time. The rest of the day was spent studying and meeting up with friends again. 

Early Thursday morning we all met in the convention center, where testing would take place. First came the written computer based test. While it was harder than the local test, it was still a great test. While the seniors were taking the computer test, the primaries and juniors were doing their testing (computer and oral). There was a large several hour long break in between the seniors' computer and oral tests, so several of us played ultimate frisbee, talked, and reviewed our passages. We then completed the oral round and awaited the opening ceremony that evening. 

Thursday evening was the Opening Ceremony where everyone was welcomed to the event and there were a couple speakers. We, the contestants, then spent a very long time training for the next morning - Awards Presentation Ceremony. Friday morning - the Awards Presentation Ceremony - was where all the contestants went on stage, received their medals, and the semi-finalists were announced. By God's grace, Ellia + Faith were called as Primary semi-finalists, and I was called as a Senior semi-finalists. 

Late that morning the juniors had their semi-final round, followed by the primaries. Ellia advanced to the next round as a Primary finalist. Following the Primary round, was the senior semi-final round. It was such a wonderful and humbling experience being part of the semi round. The other contestants and the commanders were so encouraging and such a blessing to be with as I participated in the semis. There was lots of prayer, fun conversations, and encouragement. There were 4 rounds in the semi-finals, and in the 3rd round I was eliminated for leaving out a verse in my passage. While it was a disappointment not to make finals, it was so wonderful to see five others advance. It was a lessons I needed to learn, but more about that in an upcoming post. After the semi round was over, David came to see me back stage and told me to come out on stage again. I had no clue why, but I followed him out. A group of friends were standing there and started cheering for me. They gave me a letter that they had all signed. It was so wonderful and made me start crying because I have such awesome friends! I found out that they were the ones who cheered really loudly every time that I walked out on stage. =)

Because I did not advance I was able to spend the rest of the week spending time with friends. Friday evening several of us stayed up late, talked, and played games. Saturday morning was the junior finals, and then the Primary finals where Ellia won 2nd place! Let me just say right here, my little sisters did an amazing job! Ellia, being 10, was in her final year of primaries and did a wonderful job of memorizing and studying all the different passages. She did an amazing job in finals, and I'm so happy that she won 2nd place! Faith, having just turned 7, was probably one of the youngest in the Primary competition. I didn't think she would even make nationals, but she went on, not only to qualify for nationals, but also to advance to the semi-final round! 

That afternoon was the Senior final round followed by the Closing Ceremony. After the Closing Ceremony was such a special time, in which I was able to spend time fellowshipping, playing games, and singing with friends. A group of us stayed up really late and had a really good conversation. 

Sunday morning was the service and afterwards we all said goodbye. It was so hard saying goodbye and seeing people leave. Sunday afternoon and Monday we spent some extra time with a couple other families from Bible Bee and then drove home on Monday night/Tuesday morning. 

Every year I have been so blessed by being at Nationals. This year, in regards to fellowshipping and people there, was the best yet. It was a very humbling, encouraging, and challenging experience. Seeing other people who are devoted to following Christ was so uplifting. It encouraged me to continue pressing on, and challenged me to continue serving Christ completely with my whole life. 

This year I joined the ranks of the Alumni. I took my last computer test for the National Bible Bee. I completed my last oral round. I competed for the last time in semis. I studied for the last time as a Bible Bee Contestant. While this is being very bitter, it is yet wonderful. I'm looking forward to seeing what God has for me in the future. I've closed this chapter of my life, and I am now beginning another chapter. While I am no longer a contestant, Lord willing, I will still be at Nationals in coming years. While I am no longer a contestants, I have memories that I will have for the rest of my life. I will have life-long friends. I have so much Scripture hidden in my heart. It has been a wonderful experience, and I wouldn't change it. 

How was your Bible Bee experience at Nationals?
Are you still a contestant or are you an alumni? 
What is one of the highlights from your time at Bible Bee?
Would you like to participate in the Bible Bee, if you never have?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Graduation

After thirteen years of homeschool (Kindergarten-12), I graduated this year. I finished my school on May 31, but had my graduation party on July 30. Here are some pictures from my graduation open house as well as some of my senior pictures. (Thanks, Lauren and Valerie, for taking my senior pictures!)

It's hard to believe that I'm now out of school. Life will be so much different now, but I'm looking forward to seeing what God has ahead for me. I have different "plans", but God is in control.















We had over 60 people come to my graduation open house. Because I was too busy to take pictures, we didn't get too many pictures from my open house. It was lots of fun, and I really enjoyed it. =) 

What big events happened in your life this year? 
Are you still in school or have you already graduated?


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Friday, October 14, 2016